Since the Palaeolithic era, people have known about weaving. Flax weaves from around 5000 BC are found in Fayum, Egypt. Flax, which was substituted by wool around 2000 BC, was the first popular fibre in ancient Egypt. By the beginning of counting the time, weaving was known in all the great civilizations. Early looms need to operate with one or two people. In many places, the Bible relates to loom and weaving. By 700 AD, horizontal and vertical looms could be found in Asia, Africa and Europe.
At that time pit-treadle loom with pedals for operating heddles appeared. Such a loom first emerged in East Africa’s Syria, Iran, and Islamic areas. Islam demanded that the faithful be covered from neck to ankle, thus increasing the demand for cloth. In Africa, the wealthy wore cotton clothing while the poorer wore wool. By 1177, loom was improved in Moorish Spain with rising higher above the ground on a stronger frame. Now the hands of the weaver were free to move the shuttle while the feet were running the heddles. This style of loom has become Europe’s standard loom.
Weaving was performed at home in medieval Europe and sold at fairs, spreading the craft and establishing the guilds. Wars, famine and plague moved the production of fabrics from home to purpose-built centralized buildings. Colonial America depended on Great Britain for manufactured goods, so they started to weave cloth from locally produced fibres. Cotton and wool were mostly used; however, wool was used more due to the labour-intensive method of separating the seeds from the cotton fibre.
That changed with the invention of cotton gin, a machine that separates cotton fibres from their seeds quickly and easily. Flax and hemp have also been used as fabric material. At the moment with ornaments woven into the fabric or woodblock printing, plain weaving was preferred. The Industrial revolution changed weaving from hand to machine weaving. In 1733, John Kay created the flying shuttle and made it quicker to weave wider fabric.
The first weaving factories were constructed in 1785. Around 1803, Jacquard loom was invented. It could be programmed with Punch cards that allowed quicker weaving of more complex patterns. White fabrics were printed mechanically with natural dyes at first with synthetic dyes coming in the second half of the 19th century.
Weaving is a fabric production method; it comprises of two distinct yarns or threads to form a fabric or cloth at right angles. These two threads are referred to as warp and weft. Usually, the fabric is woven on a loom which is a tool that holds warp threads in place while the weft is woven through them. There are other weaving techniques as well. The technique of interlacing the warp and weft is called the weave. The basic types of weaving are simple weaving, satin weaving and twill that offer distinct shapes and texture to distinct uses of fabrics.